It’s time to stop waiting for instructions and take the initiative

If you’re working from home, it’s easy to sit back and avoid the initiative until you get a new set of directions, and to hold off until a boss or supervisor tells you specifically what to do. After all, “doing nothing” is one of the most popular ways to fight changes that are difficult to accept.

The sudden transition to working from home has been a challenge for most of us. Even worse, the rapid shift in life and work can easily create a culture of dependence. Being caught in the whirlwind of transition can make anyone feel uncertain and confused.

Of course, it might be that your organization’s culture hasn’t required you to think for yourself. Maybe you assume you’re supposed to wait for guidance, to always turn to your boss for assignments—so you’ve just naturally come to depend on others for your marching orders.

But here’s the hard truth: those days are over. The shift toward a culture of initiative and independence means you must figure out for yourself what the organization needs. Then move on it.

Personal responsibility and self-directed behavior are essential in today’s situation. For one thing, organizations are running more and more lean—and that means every person must become self-sufficient. You can no longer count on having someone to come around and hand-feed you instructions on a regular basis.

We’re all in this confusing transition together, which means that higher management may not be in a position to help much. Often the boss doesn’t get to see problems as quickly as you do—or doesn’t understand how to fix them as well as you do.

It’s time to put yourself in charge of problem-solving. Granted, you don’t have all the answers—but nobody does. Just show some initiative. Come up with your own answers, and there’s a good chance they’ll be better than you could get from anybody else.

You slow down the organization when you go looking for help… when you depend on someone else to tell you what to do… or when you wage an underhanded war against change by waiting for instructions. Show some initiative, and you’ll see your organization start picking up speed.